According to our friends at the San Francisco Department of the Environment, we should not be keeping our cell phones next to us all of the time. This is especially true for pregnant women. Also, how many of us have handed a cell phone to a one year old to play with or put a phone with a white noise app next to our infant's heads? I know I have, but I know I will be more careful in the future after reading this. Here are some of their thoughts:
Cell phones emit radio frequency energy (radiation) when they are “on” and not just when they are in use. There is a debate in the scientific community about the health effects of cell phone radiation, however, studies have identified evidence of health impacts such as brain cancer and reproductive damage from cell phone use. In fact, leading epidemiologists who have studied the effects of radiation absorbed from cell phones have recommended that the public be informed of the potential for adverse health effects from long-term cell phone use, particularly for children and pregnant women.
While the Federal Communications Commission (or FCC) adopted a limit (measured as Specific Absorption Rate or SAR) for safe exposure to radiofrequency energy that cell phone manufacturers must meet, manufacturers warn (in the cell phone user manuals) that “if a user holds a phone too close to their body, a phone may exceed the radiofrequency energy exposure limitation set by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”).” Given that cell phone usage has increased steadily in the last few years, and that cell phones are being used at younger ages, scientists and advocates are recommending public outreach to increase awareness of the same.
Read the Department's thoughts in full here.